Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker tabbed Blake Treinen as his man for ninth-inning duties late in spring training. It took about three weeks into the regular season for the veteran skipper to sour and consider going another way.
Treinen hasn't been Sam Dyson bad, but it's been pretty close. After Max Scherzer twirled seven scoreless frames in Atlanta on Tuesday, Sammy Solis worked a scoreless eighth inning to get it to Treinen with a healthy three-run lead. It seemed like a good way to get the embattled closer back on track, right?
Well, the Nationals closer promptly allowed a single to Freddie Freeman. He then recorded his only out on a fielder's choice. Brandon Phillips laced a single to right field before Tyler Flowers came on as a pinch hitter and drew a walk. It gets worse. Treinen walked Kurt Suzuki with the bases loaded and Baker saw enough.
After throwing just six of his 16 pitches for strikes Baker called for Shawn Kelley to nail down the final two outs. He did just that, as Kelley secured his first save of the season while peppering the strike zone 10 times on 11 pitches. That's the type of production Baker was hoping he would see from Treinen, who is likely to take a break from high-leverage situations for a while, at least that's the tone from the skipper after Tuesday's dicey appearance.
"This ain't working," an incensed Baker told Jamal Collier of MLB.com after Tuesday's performance.
Treinen's ERA rose to a very ugly 7.11. His WHIP is even worse, sitting at 2.53. The former South Dakota State Jackrabbit has issued at least one free pass in each of his past five appearances, walking six total batters over the past four innings while recording just two strikeouts during the span.
Run, do not walk, to the waiver wire and grab Kelley, who has settled down after some early-season problems of his own. After serving up a home run in each of his first three appearances, Kelley is 2-0 with one save while allowing just one hit and no walks with four strikeouts over his past three innings of work. If your fantasy league has a FAAB budget, don't break the bank to acquire Kelley. However, it appears the 32-year-old will be the short-term answer while Treinen irons out his issues. Koda Glover, a 24-year-old with three holds and a 1.06 WHIP over 5 2/3 innings, might also be in the mix for ninth-inning duties if Baker decides to open things up. He isn't a bad stash and save option, and he could come on the cheap.
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Bringing his 'A' game
The Athletics have won six of 14 games so far this season. Andrew Triggs has accounted for three of those victories and he has yet to yield an earned run through 17 2/3 frames.
The 28-year-old right-hander allowed two unearned runs over six innings with a season-high five strikeouts in Tuesday's victory against A's killer Yu Darvish and the Rangers. The key to success for Triggs has been his ability to keep the ball in the park, as he has yet to serve up a home run in his record-setting 17 2/3 innings without an earned run to start a season. The previous record for the A's was 16 innings set by Mike Norris (1975) and equaled by Matt Keough (1980).
Triggs has quite the arsenal, as he has a two- and four-seam fastball, a slider, a change-up and a cutter. He also employs an atypical arm slot which batters have yet to figure out on a regular basis. The good news is that he has forced batters to beat the ball into the ground, posting an impressive 3.62 GB:FB ratio. Fantasy owners are big fans of that and his OBP of .217.
The lack of earned runs and victories have been impressive, but he has walked four batters while striking out just nine. Those numbers aren't likely to make the toes of many fantasy owners tingle, though he certainly is worth a roll of the dice in most AL-only leagues and some deeper mixed play.
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Ramirez Continues to Roll
Jose Ramirez smacked his fourth home run of the season in Tuesday's 11-4 victory at Minnesota, pushing his batting average to .365 in the process.
Ramirez kicked off the regular season at second base for the injured Jason Kipnis (shoulder), and he is making the Indians brain trust look awfully wise for giving him a multi-year extension late in spring training. After starting out just 5-for-28 (.179) over his first eight games he is hitting a robust .583 (14-for-24) with a double, three homers and 10 RBI over the past six outings. He has two or more hits in five of those contests.
The nice thing about Ramirez is that he hits the ball hard and he usually puts the ball in play. He has managed just seven strikeouts over 52 at-bats with six walks, 15 RBI and a 1.035 OPS through 14 games to emerge not only as a capable fill-in for Kipnis at the keystone, but he is a must-start fantasy option in most formats and DFS play. If he has an Achilles' heel it is from the right side of the plate, as the switch hitter is hitting just .235 (4-for-17) with a double and four RBI. All of his power comes as a left-handed hitter, as his OPS is nearly double (1.271) vs. his .627 mark vs. LHP. Ramirez is an even more impressive at Progressive Field in Cleveland, boasting a .524 average (11-for-21) with two doubles, two homers and eight RBI with four walks and just three strikeouts in his home park.
National League Quick Hits: Reds starter Bronson Arroyo picked up his first victory since the 2014 season, turning back the Orioles at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. … Arroyo was supported nicely by Adam Duvall, as the left fielder racked a double, homer and five RBI. ... Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed just two walks with two strikeouts over seven hitless and scoreless innings at Safeco Field in Seattle on Tuesday. The Marlins had a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning before Kyle Barraclough allowed a double to rookie Mitch Haniger with one away in the final frame. … The Dodgers lost a pair of infielders in Tuesday's game against the Rockies, as Logan Forsythe (toe) suffered a right toe contusion after being hit by a pitch. The injury comes on the heels of a hamstring injury which has been hampering him. Justin Turner checked out with a finger injury after being clipped by an offering from Kyle Freeland. X-rays were negative for Turner, while X-rays were inconclusive for Forsythe. … Nolan Arenado belted a pair of homers with three RBI in the 4-3 win in Los Angeles, giving him six clouts overall. … Buster Posey (concussion) served as the designated hitter in an AL park in Kansas City in his first game back. He collected three singles over five at-bats to lift his average to .385. Michael Foltynewicz was on the short end of a pitcher's duel, giving up just two hits, five hits and four walks over seven innings in a quality start and loss Tuesday against the Nationals. He went toe-to-toe with Max Scherzer and held his own, lowering his ERA to 4.26. … Kyle Schwarber found the cheap seats for the third time this season, helping to make up for the dismal outing of Brett Anderson. The veteran allowed six earned runs and eight hits while recording just eight outs in a no-decision. … Carter Capps (elbow), making his way back from reconstructive surgery in March 2016, tossed a scoreless frame with one strikeout in a rehab outing with Triple-A El Paso. He continues to make progress and could be used in ninth-inning duties for the Padres sooner rather than later. Stash and save.
American League Quick Hits: Francisco Lindor's rise to superstardom continues, as he collected two more hits, including a triple, with two RBI in Tuesday's 11-4 win in Minnesota. The shortstop has hit safely in 12 straight outings, raising his average to .351. … The Twins are plodding along at 7-7, but Miguel Sano is performing like a winner. He hit his fourth homer with 13 RBI through 14 outings. Yet another success story out of the Dominican hamlet of San Pedro de Macoris. … Miguel Gonzalez has looked ace-like for the ChiSox. He needed just 88 pitches to make it through 8 1/3 innings at N.Y. Yankees. He gave up just one run, four hits and a walk while striking out four batters in the quality start. The Mexican right-hander has two quality starts in three outings, averaging 5.0 strikeouts per appearance. … Luis Severino was a hard-luck loser, giving up four runs - three earned - with no walks and 10 strikeouts over eight innings. He has been electric in each of his past starts, both at home, posting 21 punchouts with just one walk over 15 innings. … Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman served up batting practice against the Red Sox, giving up six runs, 11 hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He managed to throw just 60 of his 94 pitches for strikes. … Mitch Moreland is fitting in nicely with the Red Sox, as he posted his third multi-hit game over the past four outings, finishing 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. … Andrew Benintendi looks like the real deal, as he has collected two or more hits in each of his past three outings to raise his average to .321. … Matt Andriese allowed one earned run over six innings for the second straight start, posting his first win of the season in Tuesday's 5-1 victory against the Tigers. … Kole Calhoun wore the golden sombrero in Houston, striking out four times in five at-bats. … After a 2-for-21 (.095) start, Yulieski Gurriel is showing signs of at the dish. He went 2-for-4 with a double and his first homer in Tuesday's loss against the Halos. Gurriel is 9-for-20 (.450) with two doubles, a homer and two RBI.
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